The 2019 Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) are finally over. There were some great films nominated this year, and we have to admit, we were surprised by some of the results! But whether your favorite film got acknowledged or overlooked, there’s no denying that most—if not all—of the entries are worth a watch.
Nominated for “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Actress”, “Best Original Screenplay”, “Best Production Design”, “Best Cinematography”, and…yeah. You get the idea. “The Favourite” reviews the complicated relationship between Queen Anne and her closest retainers amidst the ongoing war with the French, as well as the Queen’s own peculiar approach to ruling in 18th century England. With an eclectic cast backed by a director (Yorgos Lanthimos) who takes a surprisingly irreverent approach to the subject matter, this one is definitely worth your time.
The Results: While “The Favourite” didn’t earn quite as many accolades as nominations, it didn’t walk away empty handed: Olivia Colman won a much-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Anne.
Just like “The Favourite,” “Roma” earned an impressive 10 Oscar nominations for its portrayal of a middle-class family set in 1970s Mexico City. Loosely based on the life experience of writer-director Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma” chronicles a year in the life of the family’s maid, Cleo Gutierrez (Yalitza Aparicio) and her struggle to manage her own tumultuous life amidst the turbulence growing in the world around her.
The Results: “Roma” won substantial acclaim at this year’s Golden Globe Awards, and its momentum carried over to the Academy Awards. “Roma” won three Oscars, including Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Foreign Language Film.
Perhaps the most polarizing film on this list, “Vice” is a biopic detailing the political career of former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney. Flashing back and forth between Cheney’s upbringing and a more modern post-9/11 political landscape, “Vice” pulls no punches in its portrayal of Cheney as an opportunist in constant search of power. Criticized by some as an artless political lynching and praised by others as a necessary spotlight on a dark chapter of American history, “Vice” received eight Oscar nominations—making it worth a mention, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum.
The Results: While “Vice” didn’t perform quite as well at the Oscars as its eight nominations would suggest, it did receive the award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Christian Bale’s amazing transformation.
Another biographical film, “Green Book” tells the story of acclaimed jazz pianist Don Shirley and his relationship with his chauffeur and bodyguard, Tony Vallelonga. As Don performs throughout the Midwest and Deep South in a racially-divided 1962 America, the two learn about each other and the challenges that each experience from their respective upbringings. While the film plays a little loose with historical accuracy, the film’s themes of tolerance, friendship, and family transcend history and made the film worthy of its five Oscar nominations.
The Results: “Green Book” performed well at the Oscars, earning the highly-coveted Best Picture Oscar, as well as awards for Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Original Screenplay.
A Star Is Born
You may remember “A Star Is Born” as the musical drama starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March, first released in 1937. Or maybe you remember it from the 1954 remake starring Judy Garland and James Mason. Or maybe from its 1976 iteration, featuring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. However you look at it, viewers can’t seem to get enough of this timeless story, and its 2018 adaptation is no exception. Nominated for eight Academy Awards and receiving widespread critical acclaim for its lead actors’ performances, fans of this classic should definitely give this one a shot.
The Results: “A Star Is Born” was mostly overlooked at this year’s Oscars, taking home one prize for Lady Gaga's hit original song "Shallow." The film did perform better than most others on this list at the box office, so it has that going for it.
Isle of Dogs
Interested in something besides dramatic biopics and political thrillers? We suggest checking out “Isle of Dogs”, an animated film by Wes Anderson that was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score. But don’t go into this expecting a Disney/Pixar-esque animated adventure; “Isle of Dogs” is a somewhat sobering tale of life and loss set in near-future Japan, juxtaposing sci-fi dystopian elements against the human condition. Although some have criticized the setting as cultural appropriation, others found it to be the perfect backdrop for the film’s themes. See it for yourself and make up your own mind.